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Are You Awake?

July 18, 2010


Jane Riley Best

Museum Director and Public Relations Specialist

Germantown Historical Society


Phone; 262-628-3170






What we meant to ask was, Has the Germantown Historical Society awakened your senses to the value of our local heritage, the very basis for preservation?


The mission of the Germantown Historical Society is to do just that. How?


To gather, display, and express human values which created our community through the dreams and ambitions of our forefathers. To create an environment which explains the challenges, choices and consequences of life in the New World. To satisfy the curiosity of our visitors who are looking for information and insights into the hopes and passions of the pioneers.


The Dheinsville Settlement is home to two museums and an authentic fachwerk (half timber….not log) home, the Valentine Wolf Haus. The Christ Church of Local History Museum exhibits include many local artifacts and document the settlement of Dheinsville, and the Sila Lydia Bast Bell Museum, hosts 5,000 bells…..the private collection of one person.


As a seasonal attraction, the Dheinsville Settlement caters to school groups, boys and girls clubs, senior centers, assisted and independent living communities and the individual who seeks us out for their own passions and interests.


In May before the schools let out, Dheinsville Settlement comes alive for one hour tours as a living history settlement. Philip and Elizabeth Dhein, the original settlers to the area, Rev and Mrs. Binner, Ignatius and Catherine Zinn, Mr. and Mrs. Neidlein, William Dix and Valentine and Margarita Wolf mingle with students and teachers and show them through living history how this area was in the 1850’s. Costumes are authentic and the actors answer the questions that these bright young minds ask.


Once a month, on the first Wednesday, Museum Curator, Eileen Densow, presents a bell from the Bast Bell International Bell Collection. Kaffee and Conversation are included! What a bargain!!!


In the past, June was the month that the Historical Society had hosted a Worldwide Wine Tasting. Over 40 International wines were featured as samples and patrons could purchase directly from the distributor. Hor’d’oerves were enjoyed and the event was held in the Bell Museum, where the atmosphere was quaint and simple. The event is once again in the planning stages for June 2011.


Fall would not be the same without the Annual Hunsrucker Oktoberfest. Held the last weekend in September, Dheinsville Park and it’s 9 acres are the scene of lederhosen, dirndls and dachshunds. The Dachshund Race , sponsored by Midwest Dachshund rescue is on Saturday, there is a Silent Auction both Saturday and Sunday and the Bell Museum features half price admission with the donation of three canned goods. Festival Admission and parking are free. Authentic food, music and entertainment are the feature.


New this year is the addition of artwork of local artists in different age categories. The Challenge has been set forth: Draw an historical building, preferably from Dheinsville Settlement or Main Street Germantown. Submit it to the Historical Society before August 27 and it will be judged on Saturday of Oktoberfest by the Board of Directors. The submission may be taken home on the 26th of September or left with the Historical Society for future fundraising. Winners in the age categories will receive a $25 gift certificate from the Bell Museum Gift Shop or a local establishment.


Kirsten, the original American Girl celebrates her birthday on alternating years with lemonade, cake and strawberries…..just like in the books. This is a wonderful way to celebrate your special little girls birthday, as well. Book a party with Kirsten at the Germantown Historical Society. Your party goers will enjoy it and remember it as special for many years.


This fall, we are scheduling dusk tours of the Christ Church Cemetery for boys and girls scouting groups. What a fun way to get in the mood for All Hallows Eve??


St Nick pays a visit to Christ Church of Local History Museum on December 5th from 3-4pm. An old fashioned children’s German/English Choir sings along to traditional songs played on our antique pump organ, owned by Sila Bast , a gift from her mother. There is no charge for these special festivities. Groups of 10 or more can book a tour of the Bell Museum prior to the sing along in advance of December 5th.


Are you awake yet?


Wake up and come over for a visit. We are open May 1, to Nov 1 Wed through Sunday 1pm-4pm . Call to book a tour.




Jane Riley Best

Museum Director and Public Relations Specialist



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